Mary Jo Trimble
Position of the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation (MHDF)
Regarding the proposed
Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005, (PAWS)
The first thing to understand and keep firmly in mind is that the
federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) has never addressed animals generally.
It addresses all dogs, dead or alive, including those used for hunting,
security, or breeding purposes. It also addresses dogs, pets, and
animals used for research, testing, experimentation or exhibition
· Guinea pig, or
· Such other warm-blooded animal, as the Secretary may determine
is being used...for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition
purposes or as a pet; but
Horses...and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to, livestock
or poultry, used...as food or fiber...are specifically excluded from the
Act. (Emphasis supplied)
Senator Rick Santorum (PA) has tried to impose the regulation of hobby
dog and cat breeders through amendment of the AWA for years. In 2000, he
proposed federal legislation of dog breeding practices. Again in 2001,
he introduced the Puppy Protection Act with this statement in the
"Introduction of this legislation comes as a continuation of my interest
in the protection and humane treatment of animals, specifically, dogs
That effort was defeated in the U.S. Congress.
The Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) then sued the Department of
Agriculture (USDA) in the U.S District Court for Washington, D C. asking
the Court to order the USDA to regulate hobby breeders, even though the
USDA rule making exempted them from regulation, because breeders who
breed and sell from their homes are not "pet stores." The District
Court ordered the USDA to regulate hobby breeders. The USDA appealed to
the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The Court of Appeals upheld the USDA's interpretation of the Act, and
Within 60 days following the decision of the Court of Appeals, Santorum
introduced his Puppy Protection Act, to so amend the AWA that the USDA
would be required to regulate hobby breeders, their facilities, their
breeding programs, their puppy socialization methods, and more. It was
supported by the usual animal rights organizations, including HSUS, PeTA
and DDAL. It was opposed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United
Kennel Club (UKC), hundreds of local kennel clubs and breed club, Cat
Fanciers Association (CAF), and thousands of hobby breeders. Santorum
responded to his bill's opponents by attaching it to the omnibus
Agriculture Bill, where the focus was on agricultural subsidies, not
animal welfare. There it would be approved by the Senate without ever
having a hearing, or affording opponents an opportunity to address it
before a committee. The Senate passed the Puppy Protection Act as part
of the Agriculture Bill.
There were differences between the Agriculture Bill as passed by the
Senate and as passed by the House, so there had to be a Conference
Committee with members of the House and the Senate to resolve the
differences. The Puppy Protection Act was removed from the Agriculture
Bill in that Committee. Dog people, cat people, and others sighed with
THE PROPOSED NEW LAW:
Now Santorum has again introduced a Bill to so amend AWA as to force
USDA to regulate many hobby breeders.
Santorum's latest attempt to bring hobby breeders under the Animal
Welfare Act is not in the best interest of the hobby breeders who breed
and sell dogs from their homes. The hobby breeders are the backbone of
the pure bred dog and cat registries whose aims are to improve,
standardize, and produce healthy dogs and cats of the many breeds that
will meet the varied needs and desires of the public. This effort should
be encouraged. It should NOT BE DISCOURAGED, because the future of
pure-bred dogs and cats depend upon their efforts. No one else is
breeding to eliminate debilitating heritable diseases, bad temperament,
animals bred to a breed standard, etc.
Actions by the animal rights groups, such as the HSUS, PeTA, and DDAL,
aim to rewrite the AWA to meet their ultimate objective, i.e., to make
the breeding of dogs and cats so expensive and regulated that it will
discourage mutually beneficial human/animal relationships. It appears
that these groups are using Santorum to achieve their goal. Certainly
they are doing everything they can to urge him to do so.
The chief executive officer of the HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, has clearly
stated the objectives of both the animal rights and his own organization.
"We have NO ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of
livestock produced through selective breeding. One generation and out.
We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are
creations of human selective breeding."
We find it disturbing that the AKC has joined with the HSUS to promote
and enable its goals by supporting this legislation. Consider these
quotes from the Washington Post:
"....Santorum, R-Pa, has won high praises from the Humane Society of
United States for pushing legislation aimed at ending breeding
facilities known as puppy mills."
"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) also finds him a
friend. He's a man with a heart, and he doesn't think it's any more
acceptable to treat animal cruelly than humans."
It is unrealistic to believe that the proposed revisions of the AWA
actually achieve Santorum's purported goal of protecting the health of
companion animals, regulating marketing practices, and producing
companion animals that will give the pet-owning public protection from
unethical and incompetent producers of puppies and kittens. The proposed
revisions will, actually, result in the general public's inability
obtain healthy pets.
Pacelle, of the HSUS, is on record as to the means to be used to achieve
"We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process..."
The HSUS is active at national, state, and local levels with its efforts
to regulate animal ownership through statute and regulatory agencies.
With the large bankroll (bigger than $100 million) of a nonprofit
organization, it has the financial resources to achieve its goal.
Some of the reasons we oppose PAWS:
* The objectives of the individuals and organizations (HSUS, PeTA,
the DDAL,) and the past pursuit of their aims by Santorum, cause
us to believe they do not have a genuine interest in improving the
appearance, behavior or health of pure bred dogs and cats. The
humane treatment of companion animals is universal among animal
lovers. The long-term goals of animal right's advocates is to
completely separate humans from the enjoyment of animals. This is
not a goal that we support.
* The artificial limitation on the number of animal that can be used
to build a successful breeding program that will meet the stated
objectives, i.e., to improve the various breeds, is not possible
and will not allow the dedicated breeder to achieve the objectives
of a pure-bred dog registry.
* The confusing, ambiguous and subjective language used in the bill
indicates that it can be interpreted to the benefit of a variety
of objectives, e.g. to make it too expensive and/or onerous to try
to continue a serious breeding program.
* Enforcement of the Act will rest with the USDA. It is unrealistic
to believe it has the knowledge, resources, and authority to
protect the humane treatment of the 61.5 million dogs and 70.7
million cats that are owned by the citizens of the United States.
* The USDA has neither the staff nor the expertise to regulate the
development of breeding programs, marketing strategies, and
management skills to enforce the humane treatment of the country's
largest animal industry. Regulations at the state and local
jurisdictions are a better system for protecting the health and
management to the dog industry.
* We respect and join the individuals and groups who oppose PAWS,
including four AKC board members: Carmen Battaglia, Patti Strand,
Ken Marden and Tom Davies, the Cat Fanciers Association, and the
hundreds of State Federations of Dog Clubs, National Specialty
Clubs, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and individual local kennel clubs
that are on record opposed to the PAWS.
Al W. Stinson, DVM, Director of Legislative Affairs
James Irvine, J.D.,
Approved by the Officers and Board of Directors
August 2, 2005
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